Saturday, 10 December 2011 17:45

Math Problem Solving Menus (Part 5): Scoring Rubric (Teaching Tip #52)

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The Teaching Tips will focus on the topic of Math Problem Solving Menus during this six-week period.

Week 1: Math Problem Solving Menus: An Introduction
Week 2: Problem Solving Solution Sheet
Week 3: Sample Problem Solving Menu
Week 4: List of Problem Solving Strategies
Week 5: Scoring Rubric
Week 6: Checking System (The Supermarket Analogy)



 Scoring Rubric

I use the scoring rubric shown below to assess my students’ work with our Problem Solving Menus. The Performance Indicators listed above the rubric represent the core requirements that students need to satisy in order to meet or exceed the class standard and proceed to the next challenge.

The four levels of the rubric are built around these indicators. Author Philip Crosby defines quality as “conformance to requirements,” and a score of 3 meets our class definition of quality problem solving because in order to earn that score, students needed to complete each step of the process correctly. In other words, the work needs to conform to the requirements of the process. To earn a score of 4, students must somehow exceed the requirements, either by using multiple strategies to solve the problem or using an unusually sophisticated or advanced strategy. Students earning a score of 1 or 2 have not yet met one or more of the requirements.  

Though the rubric works well for summative assessment purposes, I use it primarily for the purpose of formative assessment. Specifically, when students earn a score below a 3, I want them to understand exactly why it happened so they can go back and improve their work until it meets the standard. For example, did they forget to write down all the important facts? Did they execute their strategy incorrectly? Did they neglect to label their answer? By helping students focus on the specific indicators needed for success, the rubric serves as a valuable teaching tool that enables me to establish clear expectations and provide quality feedback.

                                                                                                                Rubric for Math Problem Solving

With problem solving, students are asked to identify the problem that needs to be solved, identify the relevant facts and conditions, choose a strategy that will lead to a solution, carry out that strategy successfully, determine a correct solution, and then check to see if the solution is reasonable.

Performance Indicators

• Understand the problem that needs to be solved
• Find the important facts and conditions needed to generate a solution
• Choose or create a strategy to solve the problem
• Determine a correct solution, label it, and check it for reasonableness

4 = Exceeds Expectations
•I did everything in the “Meets Expectations” box.
•I went the extra mile and showed more than one way to solve the problem.
•I used an unusually advanced strategy to solve the problem.

3 = Meets Expectations
•I wrote down the right question and used a question mark.
•I wrote down all the important facts and conditions.
•I chose a strategy and followed through with it from beginning to end.
•I wrote a correct solution, labeled it, and checked to see if it was
2 = Below Expectations
•I may not have written down the right question.
•I may not have written down all the important facts and conditions.
•I chose a promising strategy, but I may have done it incorrectly.
•I may not have labeled my solution or checked to see if it was reasonable.

1 = Significantly Below Expectations
•I may not have written the question, or I may have missed most of the facts and
•I may have chosen a strategy that didn’t make sense for this problem.
•I may have made serious mistakes with my strategy.

New Teaching Tips appear every Sunday of the school year.

Note: Click here to check out a terrific Australian website that presents additional information about rubrics.